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|VIRGIL THOMSON: The Plow that Broke the Plains - Suite|
The Plow That Broke the Plains is a 1936 short documentary film which shows what happened to the Great Plains region of the United States and Canada when uncontrolled agricultural farming led to the Dust Bowl. It was written and directed by Pare Lorentz. The film was narrated by the American actor and baritone Thomas Hardie Chalmers.
In 1999, The Plow That Broke the Plains was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Lorentz worked on the film with composer Virgil Thomson, who shared Lorentz's enthusiasm for folk music and incorporated many folk melodies, along with other popular and religious music, into the soundtrack.
Virgil Thomson compiled a concert suite from his original score, which has been performed and recorded. Its first recording was made on RCA 78s in 1946 by the newly formed Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra under its founder and first conductor, Leopold Stokowski. One of the earliest stereo recordings was made for Vanguard Records in 1961, again with Leopold Stokowski, this time conducting the Symphony of the Air.
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